The Tactical, Survival and Arms Expo 2018 is here, and boy is it a doozy! Seminars, meetups, and merchandise galore for the discriminating consumer await! So how do you make the most of it? Read on!
Note: All information in this post pertains to the Manila portion of this event and will be updated as need be.
TACS 2018 will have both of its Metro Manila legs conducted in SM Aura, Bonifacio Global City (while it’s Cebu leg will be at SM City Cebu). While quite the distance from its first venue at SM Megamall, the new location is much closer to those coming in from the provinces.
That said, I’d recommend planning ahead to avoid any frustrations, especially with our first issue: parking.
Unfortunately, parking in BGC can get very expensive, very quickly. While a guide to the existing parking areas is available online, do keep in mind that there is a lot of demand for it as well (especially on the weekends). Between the malls, the call centers, and the various attractions in BGC, it can be quite challenging to find a place nearby to park a vehicle.
In terms of both proximity and overhead protection, SM Aura and Market Market both have covered parking zones that you can stay in for a reasonable fee. You can also try the parking areas along 28th West and the Gallery Parkade, but be reminded that the latter is closed on weekends. Alternatively, you can park in SM Makati or Park Square, walk across the Ayala MRT Station, and take the bus from EDSA to Market Market – just be warned that the lines can get rather long, especially in the afternoon.
As for meetups and discussions outside the event area, SM Aura offers a variety of locations for talking shop. If you’re on a budget (or just don’t want to spend), the Food on Four food area has many tables available for groups between 4-6 people. Alternatively, you can stay at the McDonalds at the lower ground area over a budget-friendly cup of coffee. For those who need something stronger, Starbucks (Ground floor), Toby’s Estate (3rd floor), CBTL (5th floor), and UCC Mentore (2nd floor) are also good picks. UCC’s coffee in particular, while expensive, is definitely the tastiest between these four in my opinion. (Try the Sumiyaki Water Drip for an affordable, tasty treat.)
For those who possess a sizeable appetite (or just need to impress the people in their life), the possibilities are endless. Whether it’s NIU by Vikings (6th floor), Ogetsu Hime (5th floor), Paul Boulangerie (Ground floor), Food Hall by Todd English (5th floor), Mesa (5th floor) or Banana Leaf (Lower Ground floor), you’re sure to find something to delight your palate. Be warned, however: if you plan on eating at any of these places, it is best to have a reservation in advance, as they fill up rather quickly.
Speaking of filling up quickly, ready money can be an issue if you’re not careful. Be sure to have a fair amount of cash already on-hand (unless you’re packing a credit card or five). There are a limited number of ATMs in the mall, most of which are located along the stairway at the right side. The next closest ones are a bit of a walk, deep in the halls of Market Market.
Of course, no discussion on TACS is complete without a word about the things that fall under the EDC (everyday carry) moniker: multitools, blades and similar items that people tend to find useful. First off, my good friend over at the Manila Sentinel has a short post about the topic for those inclined to hear about its legal basis and how it works out in practice. Others in the field have mentioned that while a lot of the security around us tends to be theatrical rather than effective, most of it will still confiscate anything even vaguely dangerous – and unfortunately, the law is on their side. For the most part, it is recommended that you only carry the least threatening items on you if you absolutely have to, and be prepared for a trip to the mall administrator office to claim anything that security happens to take with them. Trust me, its not worth the arguments – at the end of the day, they’re just doing their job.
The TACS team have also put down guidelines on what not to bring into the event hall:
Want to grab a new tool or round out your current collection? Stores like Derek’s Classic Blade Exchange, Forged Philippines, SOE Philippines, and more will be at the event with a wide variety of items to choose from. It’s like a Christmas encore!
As for what to expect, the organizers have promised that there a wide variety of survival-related topics and talks prepared for the attendees (by the way, entrance is free!). It remains to be seen, but I have high hopes (at least compared to last year, which I reviewed here). Update: They’ve released the seminar schedules – find out which ones you want here!
With a bit of planning, the first leg of TACS 2018 this February is sure to be an experience you’ll enjoy. I’ll be there on Sunday with the members of the mod team from EDC Philippines, so come on over and check it out!